“Gracious and pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24
Last month, in my post titled, Arise, Mother, we looked together at Deborah, a judge and mother in Israel. I must admit a fascination with Deborah! She was a prophetess, wife, warrior, and worshipper. She was feminine yet fierce; she loved and was loved; she fought but wasn’t a fighter; she led others and was led of the Lord; she judged, but gently.
I wanted to learn more about Deborah, so I began a study on this inspiring woman a while ago, and one interesting thing I learned is that her name means honeybee – and Deborah certainly lived up to her name.
Bees in general don’t hold the position of a girl’s best friend, but a honeybee is quite unlike the angry, more aggressive bees or wasps that give us good reason to be frightened. Honeybees will attack when provoked, but wasps are naturally more hostile predators. “All honeybees are social and cooperative insects.”*
In Bible times, names were given according to the character traits or identities parents hoped for in their children. Deborah is “identical to the word meaning ‘bee’, and both come from the root dabar, meaning to speak or pronounce. The root dabar generally pertains to speech and specifically intelligent discourse.”** It’s also where the phrase “Word of God” comes from.*** The name Deborah means “bee, because it signifies the law like honey in the wax; that is, it contains in the letter the sweetness of the Spirit.”****
Interestingly, we never read in Scripture where Deborah calls herself a prophetess, a judge, or a leader. She instead calls herself a mother. In that one reference, Deborah gave us a glimpse into her genteel greatness, her soft strength, her sweet speech. She didn’t want her legacy to be one of positional power, but of parental devotion. She didn’t feel the need to remind others of her prophetic prowess, but of her powerful love.
Ladies, just like Deborah, we, too, can have a graceful and godly disposition, using words of wisdom that influence others to move closer to Christ. When we feast on the honeycomb of Scripture and dine in the presence of the One whose words are sweeter than honey (Ps 119:103), our speech and conduct will be transformed to bring sweetness and health to those to whom we speak. As our words become more pleasant, knowledgeable, and healing, we will become more aware of the Spirit’s prompting and empowerment to bring God’s healing, restoration, and peace to those around us.
Friends, please don’t underestimate the power of your words. Use them wisely. A wasp-like spirit destroys with the fires of hell, but the tongue of the honeybee cultivates hearts to receive and live out the Gospel. We represent the King of Kings in all we say and do.
Today, Sisters, I’m writing these words to myself. I’ve been a wasp. I still am sometimes. I desire and pray daily to be a honeybee. And, thankfully – delightfully – through much time spent with the One who can speak life into all things, I am transforming. I see changes. Sometimes and in some situations, I can’t believe I said things with such sweetness! That, my friends, is only God! Other times, though, I’m so bitterly disappointed in the ugly sting of my wasp-like words.
I have no idea where it came from, but I heard a saying when I was a kid, and I’ve never forgotten it: “Pray for me and I’ll pray for you, and we’ll praise the Lord forever!” So let’s do that. Deal??
In His name and for His glory, Jodi Greene
*animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/honeybee, “Honeybee: Apis Mellifera”
**Michelle McClain-Walters, “The Deborah Anointing”, chapter 5, pg 51
***TheWordDetective.Wordpress.com (blog), “The Honey Bee Prophetess (Part1)”, September 2, 2013
****Patrick Henry Reardon, “Judge Deborah”, Touchstone, April 2000